| A scooter burnt by clashing revellers in Ahmedabad after India thrashed Pakistan. (AFP)
Ahmedabad, March 2: Passions ignited by the India-Pakistan World Cup match — billed by many as a “bloodless war” — provided the spark to the charged communal atmosphere in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, triggering violence and shattering the fragile peace holding in the twin cities since the post-Godhra riots.
An 18-year-old youth was killed in police firing and half a dozen people were injured in stone-pelting last night as celebrations after India’s six-wicket triumph turned nasty.
The Rapid Action Force and the police were rushed to control the flare-up in the walled city and the situation was normal this morning. No fresh incidents have been reported from the places where violence broke out last night.
Zuber Ismali Shaikh, a bystander, was killed when the police fired five rounds at Shahpur around 10.30 pm yesterday to disperse clashing mobs. He was rushed to VS hospital, but succumbed to the injury.
Shaikh was struck when he came out of his house on hearing commotion as members of two communities threw crackers and stones at each other. Fire brigade sources said a scooter was also set ablaze.
As in the other cities across India, thousands poured out of their houses here moments after Rahul Dravid hit the winning boundary and erupted in joyous celebration, dancing, screaming and shouting anti-Pakistan slogans.
While the western parts of the city remained peaceful, clashes broke out in the walled city. In Rakhial, Bahai centre and Delhi Darwaja areas, the police had to lob teargas shells to disperse rioting groups. An electronic goods shop at Rakhial was vandalised.
Clashes began in Vadodara when miscreants hurled stones at a procession celebrating India’s win at Wadi Mughalwada. The marchers retaliated, sparking a clash. Four two-wheelers and a shop were torched.
Within half-an-hour, the violence spread to nearby Fatehpura and Yakupura. Here, too, the police lobbed teargas shells to disperse the stone-pelting mobs.
At least four policemen were injured in the incidents. Assistant commissioner I.C. Raj was struck by a stone on his head. A police inspector and other officials, including an SRP constable in Vadodara, were also hurt.
Three revellers died in separate incidents in Karnataka after India’s win last night, reports PTI.
Two persons died at Bugathahalli village in Mandya district when the revellers’ autorickshaw collided with a lorry. Five persons were injured.
In another incident, a dairy worker was killed when a boiler exploded in Bangalore. The police said the workers, keen to watch the Indo-Pak match, had increased the boiler’s heating level to hasten production, resulting in the mishap.